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REI does ‘not support executive order’ from Trump

REI's store in Seattle. (Daveynin, Flickr)

Leaders from America’s business corners have started to come out in opposition of President Donald Trump in the wake of a series of executive actions. Now, REI has joined them.

REI CEO Jerry Stritzke sent a letter to all co-op employees Monday expressing his concern for the country after watching Trump’s first week in office. He wanted to inform employees that the co-op will maintain a welcoming position opposite of the president. In fact, the outdoor supply co-op will use $6 million in philanthropic funds for “creating access to the outdoors for all.” He said that the co-op will “focus our advocacy efforts on public lands, climate change and equality for all.”

Related: Tech companies concerned over Trump orders

Part of REI’s financial model gives back more than 70 percent of its profits each year, notes Mike Ferris with REI.

“In 2017 we will continue to focus these funds on creating access to the outdoors for people of all genders, races, ages, levels of experience, etc,” he said. “Last year, some of our partners included Outdoor Afro, GirlTrek, Black Girls Run, and many more. And some of our recent investments in the National Park Foundation went to engaging the next generation of outdoor adventurers and stewards.”

The environment was among one of Stritzke’s concerns, but he also singled out Trump’s actions regarding women’s rights and discrimination of individuals based on nationality and belief.

Stritzke also stressed that he does not support Trump’s immigration orders.

“I have reached out personally to all employees currently in the immigration process to ensure they have the support they need,” Stritzke wrote. “If you have questions or concerns or are personally impacted, I urge you to contact your HR business partner.”

REI’s internal letter comes in the wake of other corporate leadership expressing concern about Trump’s recent executive orders. The tech sector has been an economic engine with concerned leaders.

REI CEO Jerry Stritzke’s letter to employees

Co-op Employees,

As a leader, I believe integrity means taking action based on your values. I’m writing you today because I’ve watched the President’s first days in office closely and I am concerned by what I’ve seen.

Over the course of the first week alone, we’ve witnessed actions that conflict with our co-op values on issues including climate, the environment, women’s rights and the singling out of individuals based on nationality and belief. These issues are core to the health of the outdoors and the ideals of our nation.

We know our employee base and our membership span the political spectrum on any given issue. And we embrace respectful dialogue and debate. But it’s important for me to be incredibly clear about the following—we are an organization, and a country, built on inclusion. We believe we are better when we come together, when we are open and when we are welcoming.

Accordingly, we do not support the executive order issued by the President on Friday regarding immigration. I have reached out personally to all employees currently in the immigration process to ensure they have the support they need. If you have questions or concerns or are personally impacted, I urge you to contact your HR business partner.

From our founding days, the co-op has welcomed all. That means whether you are an employee, a member or a customer you can count on respect and can be assured that we will not discriminate based on who you are or where you’re from.

We will also be deliberate about how we make a positive impact. We will focus our advocacy efforts on public lands, climate change and equality for all. We are committed to taking action in these areas because believe REI can unite people across the political spectrum.

In recent months we have taken specific actions in support of our values. In December, we publicly joined hundreds of businesses in urging the incoming Administration to maintain our nation’s commitment to the Paris Climate Accords. In January, we crafted an open letter in defense of our public lands, which more than 170 CEOs have now signed. Today, we are reaffirming our policy and philosophy of inclusiveness—as we did regarding North Carolina in 2016.

In addition, we will be dedicating our philanthropic funding, planned at more than $6 million in 2017, to creating access to the outdoors for all.

Integrity is the measure of an individual and a leader. I am speaking out today because I believe these issues are too important to stay silent. I look forward to discussion and debate about how we, together, can be a force for positive change in the outdoors—and for our country.

Jerry

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